"Rhode Warrior," a mixed-media sculpture by senior Niyjale Cummings that will be on show at the De Young Museum from May 12-20 as part of the Young at Art Festival.
A Lowell senior will receive a prestigious art scholarship this week at a Youth Art festival in the de Young museum where students have their artwork displayed alongside great work from ancient to modern areas until May 20.
On May 18, senior Niyjale Cummings will receive the $5000 Vernon Davis Visual Art Scholarship Fund for San Francisco Unified School District graduates planning to major in fine arts. San Francisco 49ers’ tight end Vernon Davis contacted Cummings through email about the award.
A self-portrait by sophomore Cate Stern that will be on display at the museum along with three other of her photos. Photos courtesy of Cate Stern View more photos from this gallery >
Cummings sent in a portfolio of his artwork; the art piece that greatly impressed the judges was his mixed-media sculpture “Rhode Warrior.” The piece is made of metal scrapings, wires, light bulb parts, and alligator clips. “It is a self-reflection of me; this is what I see myself as,” Cummings said.
Six other students, besides Cummings, qualified for the final round of judging — including Lowell senior Vivian Tong, who is an illustrator for The Lowell, and senior Maria Wong. Three students from the School of the Arts were also chosen as finalists.
After preliminary judging rounds, Davis picked the artist that is most deserving of the award. “It was a bittersweet moment,” Cummings said. “I didn’t think my work was good enough compared to the other amazing artists, but I am still very happy that I won.”
Art has fascinated Cummings from a young age. He works primarily with sculptures or anything with his hands such as ceramics pieces and wire scraps. Currently, he is working on several different art pieces, like a swordsman made out of chopsticks and a bird made of wire. “Art helps me express myself,” Cummings said. “I can prove to other people that I am good at something.”
A graphite drawing on paper by senior Vivian Tong that will be shown at the museum during the festival along with four other works by Tong. Artwork courtesy of Vivian Tong View more photos from this gallery >
Cummings plans to attend the Academy of Art University of San Francisco to study animation and fine arts. Past recipients of the scholarship include Class of ’11 alumnus Sheryl Quock.
Cummings plans to use this money to pay for his books and boarding. He is unsure of what he plans to do in the future, but it will definitely include art. “I want to use art to change the world,” Cummings said. “I wish to create more art programs for students and incorporate art into math or English to make learning more fun.”
Young Artists Bring Creativity to Old Museum
The Lowell Visual Arts Department submitted a multitude of student work to be displayed as part of the 26th annual festival. Lowell has participated in the event for more than 20 years with other private and public schools in the Bay Area, according to Ceramics teacher Maria Rode. This year’s event theme was the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Young at Art is not only an opportunity for visual artists, but for musicians as well. The Lowell High School Band, Jazz Band and Symphonic Strings Orchestra will perform at Golden Gate Park’s outdoor concourse, the Bandshell, and a court inside the de Young museum, Wilsey Court, on May 18.
The de Young is providing a great opportunity for artists who aspire to grow up and become the next Picasso. “People are proud of their work and are given the chance to see it in a museum,” Rode said. “It definitely boosts self-confidence.”
"Staircase," a photo by junior Brian Tsai that will hang in a de Young gallery as part of a larger crop of photographs from Lowell artists.
Some works submitted were classroom projects, such as sophomore Ajeya Hernandez’s ceramic salt and pepper shakers modeled after the Eiffel Tower. She had made the piece to complete an assignment which required a pair of shakers to reflect a famous work of art. “I was just making them to complete a class assignment, so I was surprised when Ms. Rode said ‘I’m gonna put them in the de Young museum,’” She said. “It’s really exciting to have stuff that I did on display.”
This 8-day event was made possible by the San Francisco Unified School District’s plan to integrate the arts into everyday curriculum. It is part of the Artist Studio Program for artists young and old at the de Young, where the museum asks artists to display their art forms to attract new and diverse audiences to the museum. “Around 12,000 visitors come to the festival each year,” said Sheila Pressley, the Director of Education at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
The Young at Art events are happening currently from May 12-20 and are free and open to the public of San Francisco.